21 June 2002

Welsh union hits at red meat delay

NFU Cymru president, Peredur Hughes, has launched a blistering attack on MLC Wales, the Welsh Development Agency and Welsh Lamb & Beef Promotions.

His criticism of the three bodies was over the stalled negotiations to merge them into a new and integrated body to develop, market and promote red meat in Wales.

"I am bitterly disappointed and feel totally frustrated at the lack of progress that has been made to date," said Mr Hughes. "At a time when the Welsh livestock industry is desperately in need of an integrated and co-ordinated strategy the legal partners to the discussions appear to be dragging their feet."

Responses to the consultation exercise, which had been concluded back in March, showed a livestock industry consensus in favour of the proposed strategic approach.

"The parties involved need to sink any differences that they might have in the interests of livestock producers in Wales. Now is not the time for procrastination or for petty differences to stall progress.

"I am disappointed that the unions have not been actively involved to provide much needed impetus to the negotiations. I call on all three partners to put the livestock industry in Wales as a whole at the head of their agenda."

Bob Parry, president of the Farmers Union of Wales, added his concern about slow progress when he and Mr Hughes met Mike German, the new Welsh minister for rural development, in Cardiff on Monday. &#42